Ryanair’s Traffic Has Already Recovered By Half

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Ryanair’s traffic appears to be showing concrete signs of recovery. Indeed, the airline’s latest figures show that it carried just under half of the passengers that it did last year. For August, the airline had a load factor of 73%.

Ryanair, Recovery, Passenger Numbers
Ryanair is operating around 66% of the flights that it was this time last year. Photo: Piotr Mitelski via Ryanair

Around the world, the airline industry is attempting to recover from the worst hand that has ever been thrown at it. Different airlines are recovering at different paces, with the European aviation industry mostly seeing positive signs. Last month, Simple Flying reported that rival low-cost airline easyJet had seen demand recover quicker than expected. IATA is targeting a full recovery by 2024 at the earliest.

Ryanair showing promising signs

Since resuming flights on July 1st, Ryanair has seen a decent number of passengers flying. The airline had been operating a skeleton schedule in April and May, with a slow ramp-up of services in June. When the airline announced last month that it had carried 4.4 million passengers, this was already fairly impressive.

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However, this month the airline clocked 7 million passengers in total. This sits at just under half of the figure for August last year (14.9 million). With a load factor of 73%, we can very roughly extrapolate that Ryanair flew 9.6 million seats. With 189 seats on each Ryanair 737-800, the airline operated around 51,000 flights this August (1,645 per day).

Ryanair, Recovery, Passenger Numbers
Ryanair’s traffic stood at just -53% year on year for August 2020. Graph: Simple Flying

For comparison, Ryanair flew 14.9 million passengers with a 97% load factor in August 2019. Using the same maths, we can roughly work out that the airline operated approximately 81,000 flights (2,600 per day). Again, this is very rough maths, but it means that Ryanair is running around two-thirds of its typical schedule in August 2020.

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Will it continue?

Ryanair’s demand is likely due primarily to passengers flying to see friends and relatives after many months apart, tied with those bold enough to holiday abroad, given the current situation. It will be interesting to see whether the demand will keep rising. The airline previously cut its schedule for the coming months on lower than anticipated bookings.

The main threat that currently faces the airline, and European airlines in general, would be a second wave of the virus. It seems as though this may be happening. Additionally, the airline is having to react to developments in the situation on a route by route basis quickly.

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Ryanair, COVID-19, Maintenance
The Irish airline is having to respond to a rapidly changing situation. Photo: Ryanair

Just last week, we reported that Ryanair had added 14 weekly flights to Faro as the UK dropped it from its quarantine rules. However, the country is expected to be readded to the list today as cases have shot up in the past week above the UK’s limit of 20 per 100,000 people in 7 days.

Do you think that Ryanair’s recovery will continue at the same rate? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!

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